Trade unionists and campaigners all along the south coast are organising to make the TUC’s 20 October demonstration massive, they have told Socialist Worker.
Many activists across Britain say transport is filling up faster than it did for the huge 26 March protest last year. And there are still nearly three months to go until the demonstration.
Carla Whiting is a Unison member in Cornwall acute health. She told Socialist Worker, “So far we have approximately half the coach booked and paid for, which is already more than the last demonstration.”
Workers in Cornwall are angry after the local NHS Trust signed up to the “pay cartel” across the south west. Carla says since that was announced “more people have come forward for information about the march”.
She added, “I think people are generally fed up. There’s the destruction of the NHS and the de-valuing of our nursing staff. But there’s also the daily struggle to pay bills and put food on the table while top bankers are still getting extortionate bonuses.”
There is similar anger among health workers in Southampton, says Unison member Pam Harris. “Hundreds have lost jobs or had their salaries slashed,” she said.
“I think this demo is a chance for everyone to show their disgust at this rich, lying government. It’s time people had a say and a mass march puts their message across.” Health workers there have booked a coach to the protest and are putting up TUC posters around their hospital to advertise it.
It’s a similar story at Southampton city council. Mike Tucker is the branch secretary of the Unison union in Southampton. He said, “After kicking the local Conservatives out of office in Southampton, Unison and Unite members are organising for the 20 October march.
“We have booked two coaches for Unison members so far, and have already started taking names of branch members attending.”
He added that negotiations continue with the Labour council in the city over restoring pay cuts the Tories made. Two Labour councillors rebelled against their party to vote against budget cuts earlier this month.
People are signing up for the protest in Hastings too. “In only a few days we are well on the way to filling our first coach,” reports Sam Buckley from the trades council.
“We expect to successfully mobilise at least as many people as we did last time despite the long delay since the last coordinated action.” The trades council is launching a big leafleting campaign for the march to try to make it even bigger.
Workers across Britain are fighting to make sure the TUC protest is a launchpad for a wave of strikes in the autumn. There’s potential for coordinated strikes involving millions that can turn the tide against the Tories and the bosses.
The mood to fight is there. As Sam points out, Hastings is the town where socialist novel The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists was written. “We’re not feeling philanthropic toward the rich and powerful any more,” he said.
Sign up for the TUC protest on 20 October or get more details at afuturethatworks.org